HC Deb 12 July 1939 vol 349 cc2230-1
42. Mr. Leslie

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the number of men who left the Navy last year on the expiration of 12 years' service; and the number who subsequently were placed on the reserve list?

Mr. Shakespeare

The number of men who left the Navy on the expiration of 12 years' service, during the 12 months ending 31st March, 1939, was 1,948, of which 1,752 were naval ratings and 196 marines. None of these men had any liability to serve in the Reserves, and, as ratings other than those who have served a 12-years' engagement join the Royal Fleet Reserve, it is not possible to give the information asked for in the second part of the hon. Member's question without a disproportionate amount of work.

Mr. Leslie

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that quite a number of these men leave after the expiry of 12 years because they see no chance of promotion? Is class bias rampant in the Navy?

Mr. Shakespeare

Whatever they may have done in the past, I could not accept that position now. Promotion in the Royal Navy is quicker than it has ever been.

Mr. Alexander

Will the hon. Gentleman take the opportunity to-day of saying how valuable the reserve service of these men is, and will he endeavour to see that their conditions when they are called up, as they have been recently, are improved? They are very bad.

Mr. Shakespeare

Certainly I am always pleased to look into the conditions.

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